Many of the playoff races in 2017 were not very close. Four of the six divisions were decided by 10+ games, but that doesn’t mean that all of the same teams will reach the post season in 2018.
Here are three non-playoff teams from 2017 that have the greatest chances to make the playoffs in 2018:
1) Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers led the NL Central for much of 2017, and if it weren’t for an inconsistent bullpen (25 blown saves) and an injury to ace Jimmy Nelson, Milwaukee would have been in a great position to reach the playoffs. They finished just one game out of the second Wild Card spot and only six games behind the Cubs in the NL Central.
Nelson underwent surgery and so he will begin 2018 on the DL. If the Brewers can add a quality starting pitcher to go along with newly signed Jhoulys Chacin and can add to their bullpen, look for Milwaukee to be a significant player in 2018.
2) Los Angeles Angels
It was an up and down year for the 2017 Los Angeles Angels. Superstar Mike Trout was injured for parts of the season, and their starting pitching was too inconsistent. They’ve had a huge offseason, though, and they’ve addressed many of their needs.
LA started by signing newly acquired OF Justin Upton to a new five year contract. They then signed Japanese star Shohei Ohtani, who apparently will both pitch and hit for the Halos. As if their offseason wasn’t productive enough, the Angels traded for Ian Kinsler and signed Zack Cozart.
All of these new moves give them a great chanced to reach October in 2018, considering they finished just 5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card spot in 2017.
3) St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals, like the Angels, were very inconsistent in 2017. They have also been very active this offseason, as they try to improve from their 83 win total last year. They made one of the biggest trades of the winter by acquiring slugging OF Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins.
They also have been rumored to be interested in top-tier starting pitching. The NL Central is shaping up to be one of the most compelling races in 2018, and it will be that much more interesting if St. Louis signs Jake Arrieta.